The New York Knicks’ top draft choice made his debut in Las Vegas on Saturday night, and it took only 18 minutes of play in the Summer League to leave a lasting impression on NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy, who was working on a Los Angeles Lakers broadcast.
“He’s a freak of nature. He’s a combination of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant,” the Hall of Famer posited, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “It’s a good pick for the Knicks.”
Porzingis had 12 points, blocked two shots and got to the line for seven free throws against the Spurs in his Knicks debut. On Monday night, the rookie finished with nine points, three rebounds and a block in 18 minutes against the Lakers.
While Worthy was impressed, others in the media didn’t quit see the same resemblance.
About the only thing Durant and Porzingis have in common is that they are Plastic Man-long and remarkably agile for their height/length. But that’s it. Porzingis isn’t taking anyone off the bounce now. As a 19-year old NBA rookie, Durant scored 20 points per game.
Porzingis won’t average 20 minutes a night as a rookie.
Still, stardom, while it may someday come, will not come overnight, and probably not over three or four years of nights either, considering the slightness of his build at this stage. That was evident repeatedly as he was easily pushed out of post position, bumped off the block, not by the robust likes of Zach Randolph or Al Jefferson but by the lanky Brandon Davies.
Davies had Porzingis sliding back across so much of the court that it looked like the rookie was trying to stand his ground on sand against a tsunami. And he needed to tap rebounds, rather than grab them, because he couldn’t get himself planted when the Spurs were also crashing the boards.
From Jose Martinez of Complex:
Don’t toy with the emotions of Knicks fans, James! Porzingis definitely has the potential to be a solid player, but saying he is a cross between Durant and Nowitzki is a pretty lofty claim. But hey, being wildly ambitious is a very #knickstape trait, so multiple All-Star selections and possibly an MVP trophy, here we come!